“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” // Matthew 16:16-18
Throughout my life I’ve experienced some pretty interesting expressions of our Catholic faith. And I understand why some think we’re a little . . . strange.
We venerate the bones, hair, and belongings of holy men and women. We go especially crazy when one of those Saints is incorrupt, though I’m honestly dubious about the definition of that word when it comes to the Saints sometimes!
We fill our homes, churches, schools, yards, and even sometimes dashboards, with statues of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes our statues are so “devout” they depict Saints venerating other Saints—statues of my patron are especially prone to this phenomenon!
Considering all that, today’s Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter shouldn’t be surprising; but, let’s be honest, it’s a bit strange.
Relics, I get that, statues, sure, but aren’t we going a bit far celebrating a liturgical feast for a piece of furniture? This is where the “both-and” beauty of Catholicism enters in, that space where we recognize that both the tangible and the intangible have significance.
Yes, there is a chair in Rome, cordoned off with velvet cords to keep the faithful from trying to chip pieces off to take home as relics. Yes, we recognize it as the spiritual seat of the first pope. Yes, today the chair is adorned with fancy flowers, flanked by lighted candles. But, sister, it’s not about the chair, it’s not even about Peter.
It’s about Jesus. That chair represents the power Christ has given to the Church, the firm foundation upon which His bride has endured for over two millennia.
Today’s feast isn’t about a piece of furniture; it’s about recognizing with Saint Peter that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Today, take courage and declare with Saint Peter the Lordship of Jesus in your life. Embrace the truth that no matter what challenges assail Church from without, she is built on solid rock and “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against [Her]” (Matthew 16:18).
As you declare Christ as Lord today, hear Him respond, “Blessed are you my beloved one” (Matthew 16:17).It’s about Jesus. // Sister Maria Fatima Click To Tweet